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Chimp Attack Victim Pushing Primate Pet Ban

Charla Nash was attacked by a 200-pound chimpanzee in 2009. She’s working to put pressure on Congress to add primates to the list of banned pets.
Posted at 12:43 PM, Jul 10, 2014

​The woman who famously survived a terrible chimpanzee attack in 2009 is in Washington to push Congress for change.

Charla Nash lost her eyes, nose and lips when her friend’s pet chimpanzee attacked her. Now, she’s hoping Congress will support the Captive Primates Safety Act. (Via Geomatrix Productions)

That bill would add “nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species” to own as pets, in addition to lions and tigers — which are already prohibited.

Nash has been battling in courtrooms for compensation from the state of Connecticut where the attack happened. She blamed the state for not seizing the chimp. See — before the attack a biologist for the state had learned about the 200-pound chimp — named Travis — and in a memo to state officials called him “an accident waiting to happen.”

NASH: “Based on the information, I feel that the state knew what was happening and failed to protect me.” (Via WTNH)

As for Nash — it’s been a while since she spoke out in the media. She’s talked to NBC several times. Here’s what she told the outlet back in 2011 about her difficult recovery:

“I’m doing good but I’ve had a lot of setbacks.”

By working to get primates banned from sale as pets — Nash says she hopes to keep the same kind of attack from happening to someone else.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is one of the sponsors of the bill in the Senate. He’s predicting an easy victory for the legislation. (Via Getty Images, The Hartford Courant)

About half of states already ban primate pets, but critics argue there are plenty of loopholes to get around them.

The Humane Society, which is supporting Nash’s push for the Captive Primates Act, notes people can still get primates as pets online or through dealers and auctions.

Chimps can live for about 60 years and get well over 200 pounds. The Humane Society estimates there are about 15,000 primates kept as pets in the U.S. (Via Getty Images)